JOHN DI NAPOLI - 1LT
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- July 05, 1943
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- May 14, 1968
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
John Di Napoli, Jr. was born on July 5, 1943, to John and Anna Di Napoli. His home of record is Carlstadt. He had one sister, Belle. John graduated from East Rutherford High School in 1961. He went on to receive a BS degree in Biology from Rutgers University. John played golf, baseball, basketball, and football. He was an avid coin collector. He was married to Alice Hudak but had no children.
Di Napoli entered the US Army in January 1966. He served with the US Army, 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry, and 9th Infantry Division and attained the rank of First Lieutenant (1LT) with the Signal Corps.
On April 30, 1968, during a combined mortar and ground attack by a large North Vietnamese Army force on his unit's command post near Quang Tri, Vietnam, Di Napoli courageously ran to a disabled vehicle, manned a machine gun and prevented the perimeter from being breached at that point. He later made a sweep of the perimeter on foot to ensure that it was clear. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device for this courageous act.
Approximately two weeks later, Di Napoli was killed in action on May 14, 1968.
Di Napoli was also awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with First Oak Leaf Cluster.
Di Napoli was survived by his wife, Alice, his parents, sister and brother-in-law Belle and Ross Ribaudo, Sr., and three nephews, Michael, Ross, Jr. and Mark Ribaudo.
Di Napoli's Bronze Star citation reads:
For heroism in connection with military actions involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: First Lieutenant Di Napoli distinguished himself by valorous actions during the early morning hours of 30 April 1968, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry, 9th Infantry Division, during a combined mortar and ground attack by a large North Vietnamese Army force on his unit's command post near Quan Tri, Vietnam. Ignoring the danger from flying shrapnel, Lieutenant Di Napoli courageously ran to a disabled vehicle, manned a machine gun and prevented the perimeter from being breached at that point. He later made a sweep of the perimeter on foot to insure that it was clear. First Lieutenant Di Napoli's personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Di Napoli's Bronze Star (with First Oak Leaf Cluster) citation reads:
For distinguishing himself by outstanding meritorious service in connection with ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam during the period 27 October 1967 to 14 May 1968.
Through his untiring efforts and professional ability, he consistently obtained outstanding results. He was quick to grasp the implications of new problems with which he was faced as a result of the ever-changing situations inherent in a counterinsurgency operation and to find ways and means to solve those problems. The energetic application of his extensive knowledge has materially contributed to the effort of the United States mission to the Republic of Vietnam to assist that country in ridding itself of the communist threat to its freedom.
His initiative, zeal, sound judgment and devotion to duty have been in the highest tradition of the United States Army and reflect great credit on him and on the military service.
Sources: Belle Ribaudo (sister), newspaper clippings and NJVVMF.
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